Results 1 to 12 of 12
  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Location
    Milw, WI
    Posts
    116

    Default Ugh, comb is so freakin fragile...

    Well, both of my hives seem to building lots of comb, but I still learning how to move the bars while detecting any brace comb that needs to be cut first.

    I pulled a large piece off this morning. ugh. And I totally know what Micheal Bush was talking about....crossed comb sucks! And it was because I hung the queen cage.

    I am gonna have a bear of a time straightening it out and I could use some tips for working with very fresh (new) comb.

    Suggestions?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    long beach, ca.
    Posts
    32

    Default Re: Ugh, comb is so freakin fragile...

    i just started bee keeping and using a top bar hive, i found out quickly just how fragile combs are. there just starting to build combs so i'm sure this will be something i need to deal with soon

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Gaithersburg, MD
    Posts
    346

    Default Re: Ugh, comb is so freakin fragile...

    I wouldn't bother mucking about at all for a while. As they get things build out and use the frames they will become more durable. As long as the combs are straight and pollen is coming is I'd not remove any frames.

    If you do have to move a frame just remember slow is smooth and smooth is fast. Move very slowly, even when prying the bars, and keep the comb vertical. Do not tilt from vertical in anyway. Practice w/ a top bar on how to keep the bar parallel to the ground as you rotate it--as if you were going to look at the other side. No flipping over.

    I'd cut any comb out now that got messed up by the queen cage so the problem doesn't grow. Once they have straight comb drawn you shouldn't have many issues w/ cross comb. Make sure the hive is level.

    All that being said, I never worked a top bar so take w/ a grain of salt. Do run foundationless in the brood nest though and imagine handling is the same.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Location
    Chicagoland, IL, USA
    Posts
    69

    Default Re: Ugh, comb is so freakin fragile...

    Yes, fresh comb is so fragile! I know now is the time to straighten stuff out though - in about a week's time the bees will either have completely messed you up or have built so much brace comb it'll be a mess! Plus, I've seen comb harden pretty quickly - depending on weather conditions. So your open working time is fairly short. I would make sure to have a smoker going, as they'll not like this very much! And a good brush to remove stray workers too (even a bunch of grass with a rubber-band to hold the blades together works great!)

    If the cross comb is on one bar - you can cut the attachment at the comb/bar joint with a sharp knife (careful not to cut anyone!). Use a dagger type motion, not a sawing motion - sawing with make things worse! Then using string or a rubber-band, move the comb to where it should be and brace with the string or rubber band. You'll need to get the bar completely out of the hive and brush off all bees that you can. I've seen a comb-holder for top bars (or Warre's) that's made out of a few scrap 2x4's....here's that picture link:

    http://warre.biobees.com/haverson.htm

    If the comb is across more than one bar - you'll need to cut from BOTH bars and then decide which bar will get the comb. Again, using string or rubber bands attach back onto bar. This is messy, messy stuff - but the girls will rebuild faster than you can imagine! If it's across 2 or more bars, you can move the offending bars as a group into the dead space after the follower board, which will give you space to work in peace (perhaps). Having a second helper would be best in this situation, as one holds the bars above the opening created in the hive and the other brushes the bees back into the hive.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    Hephzibah, GA
    Posts
    79

    Default Re: Ugh, comb is so freakin fragile...

    I agree with Life is Good. However, if the cross combing is only one comb right now (the one that had the queen cage) I'd not want to disrupt the hive at this critical time trying to fix the comb back on unless it's very large and has eggs in it. It may be better to just cut off the offending part of the comb and then place the bar between two other combs so that when the bees fix it, they have guides on either side. I've heard of people using masking tape looped over the bar and under the comb to hold up comb. The bees will eventually chew it off, by which time the comb is fixed back to the bar.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    Santa Monica, CA, USA
    Posts
    1,449

    Default Re: Ugh, comb is so freakin fragile...

    I had good success fixing the comb using hair-clip(s) - bunch of videos on youtube. Yes, fresh comb is very fragile especially if full of nectar/honey. My approach is to make sure that sides of the comb are not attached to the walls. I am using top bars in the Land-style boxes. I have absolutely no problems with medium size. Deep-size - is too big. It needs some support from the sides. It is different with TBH.
    Серёжа, Sergey

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Location
    Blue Mountains, NSW, Australia
    Posts
    141

    Default Re: Ugh, comb is so freakin fragile...

    If the crooked comb is only across one bar just run a knife between it and the bar where it is crooked then bend it straight and push onto the bar. You will squash a few cells but the bees will fix it really quick. If you get it early its a quick job.

    Once you have some straight comb just make sure new bars are added between existing straight comb then all new comb will be straight.
    Cheers
    Rob

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    43,492

    Default Re: Ugh, comb is so freakin fragile...

    One bad comb leads to another. One good comb leads to another. If you have bad comb, wishful thinking will not fix the next comb. It will be messed up unless you make the last comb a straight one by whatever means is necessary. Having a frame you can tie a comb into is good to have. Then you can always create a straight comb. Another solution is to find a straight comb and put it at the point they are building comb and put the messed up comb at the front (assuming you don’t tie it into frames or remove it). Empty bars between drawn brood combs will keep them busy building straight combs. Just don’t spread them too thin. They need to be able to fill that gap with festooning bees quickly.

    New comb is very fragile. The bees start with a flake of wax from their abdomen, that is really quite hard. They masticate it with some excretion from their mouth and make it soft like putty. This they form into comb. If there is time, other bees come back and paint this soft comb with something else they excrete from their mouths and it turns it tough and yellow. Then, if there is time, they reinforce each of the vertices with strings of propolis. Then, if there is time, they come back and tear down the attachments to the top bar, and mix it with propolis and rebuild that. At that point the comb is complete and is very tough. The details of this process are well described by Francis Huber in volume II of his New Observations on Bees. The avoidance of all but the first step of the soft comb are the basis of comb honey production. You want the bees to not have time to finish the comb so it will still be soft and putty like...
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Roanoke, VA
    Posts
    1,038

    Default Re: Ugh, comb is so freakin fragile...

    I had a little wonky comb were I had the queen cage in this year as well. What I did was cut off part of the comb (it had sugar/nectar/pollen in it) off the bar and set it to the side in the bottom of the hive. They cleaned it out and I pulled it out later. There is a small wave in the first two bars where the mess was (not cross comb), but after that it was fine. If there would have been brood I would have tried to save the comb, but that fresh comb is so hard to work with it isn't worth it for a little bit of stores.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    Denison, Texas
    Posts
    518

    Default Re: Ugh, comb is so freakin fragile...

    The sooner you fix it, or get rid of it the better. It won't set them back much if it has just eggs or stores in it.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Location
    Milw, WI
    Posts
    116

    Default Re: Ugh, comb is so freakin fragile...

    I went to work trying to fix some of this today ran into some larva and tried to save that section. I guess time will tell as to how well I did and if I can get them building straight. The bees were unbelievably patient during this process. hope I didn't disturb things too badly. lost a couple pieces of comb in the process though.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Location
    Casey, Il, USA
    Posts
    649

    Default Re: Ugh, comb is so freakin fragile...

    That is why I attached one of my top bars to a Lang frame and let my Lang build my first straight comb trimmed it to fit the angle of the tbh dumped in my package waited about 10 min for them to settle down and direct released the queen onto the comb done all this at 6 pm and by noon the next day they were bringing in pollen

Tags for this Thread

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  
Ads